Objective To explore the experience of training and performing self-needling from both the practitioners’ and patients’ perspective.
Methods A qualitative study was conducted using focus groups and interviews, nested within our multi-site randomised controlled trial, Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer. Patients allocated to self-needling across two UK study sites and all therapists who were involved in the trial were invited to participate. The interviews/focus groups were then transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically by the process of content analysis.
Results Of the 67 eligible patients, 8 (12%) contributed to the focus groups and 15 practitioners (100%), contributed to the study by either attending a focus group or being interviewed. Themes identified for patients included: the allocation to self-needling, teaching techniques and practical considerations and whether they would self-needle again. Themes identified for practitioners included: views on self-needling, teaching self-needling and future implications of self-needling.
Conclusions Self-needling was found to be acceptable to, and manageable by, patients, and enthusiastically adopted by most practitioners. Methods of teaching self-needling need to be developed and evaluated with guidelines recommended for best practice.
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